Problem: Unclear definition what constitutes a Blackboard product that carries the "Ultra Experience"
Solution: Develop a set of unifying principles to accompany the design language system; use those principles as an editing tool when implementing new features and evaluating roadmap candidates
Result: Increased understanding by product management, design and engineering teams what we were building and why; provided a model for interpreting emerging strategic technical investments such as analytics and machine learning


When I joined Blackboard, there was a well developed design philosophy and design language system (called New School). However, we had multiple products that were being released under the Ultra Experience banner but had not yet articulated a uniform view of what that experience entailed.

One of my early efforts was leading the design and product management teams to create a set of experience principles that defined Ultra. We then referenced these principles when doing design work to inform our decisions about how to recasting existing products into a modern framework.

For more information on the principles and the design language system, please see the Blackboard Design site at
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